Full disclosure here. I have eczema. I've had it since I was 5 months old and today, at 36, I am still affected by it. Growing up, I would have open wounds all over my neck, arms, and legs. I would take so many different types of ointments all filled with steroids that were suppose to help me only to have my skin become immune within weeks and I would have to use a stronger dosage.
As a child of the 80s, my parents did whatever the doctor told them to do. They didn't realize that the shots I would take and the medicine that was suppose to help me would actually cause me to gain weight and cause parts of my body to enlarge unnaturally. I would wear clothes that would fully cover me and at night my mom made gloves that were suppose to prevent me from scratching only to wake up in the morning without a single recollection as to how the gloves were torn off and blood from the scratching would be on my bedsheets.
It was my normal and I didn't think to question it.
However, as I grew up and resources became more accessible (thank you internet), I have learned alternative ways to help contain my eczema. In fact, it got to the point where I barely had a trace of it on me.
Until now. Life has thrown me a curveball because I'm 36 years old and I'm body is changing and my skin along with it. What use to be on my neck, arms, and legs is now all over my face. And what use to be open wounds are now red, inflamed skin or dry peeling skin, which I thought was the start of psoriasis, until I was told otherwise.
What I dealt with as a child seems so intolerable now as an adult. It's disheartening and a struggle and particularly embarrassing when I'm talking to someone and my face feels so itchy and when I go to rub it to give myself relief I see my skin falling from my face and landing on my clothes.
I want to say I've embraced my eczema, but that would be a lie. It's something I've dealt with my entire life and never becomes easy to handle. Every flare up, every itch, every pain that comes from scratching is a reminder that this condition I have may never go away.
So where's the light at the end of the tunnel?
When does it get better and where does the balance come in?
I'm not quite sure.
I can tell you that I know everyone has their struggles, some worse than others. And there's acceptance and there's denial. I have accepted that eczema may be a part of my life the rest of my life and I'm in denial that finding relief is unattainable. I know that having eczema hasn't stopped me from living my life although it has kept me from going outdoors or being social when my skin is in the height of a flare up. And I know I will continue to find balance between my happiness and my frustration when my skin itches so badly.
Is it enough? I don't know. Is it making me stronger? I hope so. I've been judged by my appearance because of how my skin looks. It hasn't stopped me from living my life and it won't stop me in the future. But I'm cognizant of my surroundings and I've learned to adjust myself accordingly. And I suppose that's the lesson I have learned from having eczema.
Now to you, what do you do when life throws you a curveball? How do you respond when you have to deal with something frustrating that is out of your control?